How I Cut the Cost of One Search Term by 79%

As a PPC marketer, it’s important to be mindful of the journey your potential customers go through. Marketing to users at each stage of their path to purchase - whether they’re just getting started with research or they’re ready to hit ‘buy’ - is critical.

In this post, we’ll show you how we use the AdWords Search Term Reports to get a sneak peek into the heads of potential users, help content teams produce helpful and relevant content, and to take advantage of aggressively bid keywords at a lower price.


Let’s go!

What is the search term report?

The Adwords search terms report is a list of search terms that people have used, and that resulted in your ad being shown and clicked.  

Knowing the search queries that triggered your ads and how they performed makes it easy for your PPC team to optimize your search campaigns and save money by adding new relevant keywords and negative keywords.

Finding the search term report

AdWords can generate a report with all search terms in the last 30 days that were used by multiple people and received clicks.

To generate your AdWords search terms report:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.

  2. Click on the Campaigns you want to review, then click the Keywords tab.

  3. Click Search terms at the top of the page.

  4. You'll see data on which search terms triggered impressions and clicks.

  5. To download the data in a report, click the three-dot icon and select Download.

Adwords Search Term Report

Why the search term report is important

It will help you be more relevant. Relevance is key to pay per click success. It’s hard to achieve your goals and compete in the search network if you only update your keyword now and then or whenever you get a chance.

By analyzing your search term report, you can:

  • Identify new keyword opportunities - The search terms report is filled with keyword opportunities. You can sort through the report for queries that performed well and add those into your existing campaigns or create new campaigns altogether.

  • Identify negative keyword opportunities - The search terms report can also be filled with negative keyword opportunities. You can sort through these queries to identify irrelevant terms that you don’t want your ads to trigger for and then add them to your negative keyword lists.

Target users at the top of the marketing funnel

In addition to the above benefits, a more uncommon yet useful way to use the search term report is to find relevant content ideas and talking points from users that are at the top of the marketing funnel.

Here’s the process we follow:

At Tuff, we analyze the search term report every 30 days by downloading and organizing it into tiers based on three user intent groups. Since some search terms will be more valuable than others, this helps us better optimize our digital campaigns for users at different stages of the purchase path.

  1. Low Intent - Low conversion rate, low bid

  2. Medium Intent - Medium conversion rate, medium bid

  3. High Intent - High conversion rate, high bid

When it comes to Adwords or paid search advertising, we’re willing to bid higher for potential customers who are further down the path to purchase than for those still at the top of the funnel or in the low intent stage.

User Intent FlowWhen it comes to Adwords or paid search advertising, we’re willing to bid higher for potential customers who are further down the path to purchase than for those still at the top of the funnel or in the low intent stage.

That said, we don’t want to ignore potential customers in the early stages because we still want them to discover the brand and the return later to turn into a customer or lead. Rather than bidding on them aggressively in Adwords and spending a bunch of money to be in the top three positions on a low intent keyword, we pull these out and consider them for blog posts. We can then promote these with paid efforts on Facebook where the cost per click is significantly cheaper. Better yet, we can then retarget anyone who visited the blog post on Facebook or Google as they move down the purchasing path.

Here's a recent example of a keyword we found from the search term report and partnered with our client to turn into an engaging blog post and Facebook campaign:

Example: Loan Calculator - Commercial Direct

Commercial Direct is an online lender offering loans from $250,000 to $2,000,000 on commercial real estate including multifamily, warehouse, mixed-use, office, light industrial, retail, daycare center, self-storage, mobile home parks, restaurant, bar, and automotive property types.

One of the low intent search queries with high impressions for this market is “commercial loan calculator.” The conversion rate for this term is super low, yet it remains a competitively bid on keyword.

Instead of adding this search term to our adgroups on Adwords, we worked with Commercial Direct to turn this into a Facebook campaign.

Facebook Ad

Using Adwords Keyword Planner tool, you can see that Adwords suggests bidding $7 for this keyword in the US. Because we know this is a low intent search term with very low conversion rates, we weren’t willing to pay that much for it. Instead, with the Facebook campaign above, we were able to achieve the following results:

  • Spend: $150

  • Clicks: 271

  • Cost Per Click: $0.55

  • Relevance Score: 6

While we know that someone looking for a loan calculator is still in the information stage and is unlikely to turn into an immediate lead, this tactic worked great for filling the top of the funnel and keeping the sales pipeline full.

What do you think of this tactic? As a digital marketer, have you found PPC ads effective at every stage of the customer journey? Give us a shout on Facebook - I’m excited to jump into the conversation with you.

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